Back-coun­try beauty This home takes cues from its sur­round­ings

THIS STUN­NING AR­CHI­TEC­TURAL HOME DRAWS INSPIRATION FROM ITS HIN­TER­LAND SUR­ROUNDS AND THE OWNERS’ NOS­TAL­GIC MEM­O­RIES OF THEIR RU­RAL ROOTS

Home Beautiful - - CONTENTS - STORY & STYLING KYLIE JACKES PHOTOGRAPHY JOHN DOWNS

With an un­du­lat­ing ac­cess road al­most a kilo­me­tre long, travers­ing creeks and wind­ing past duck ponds and pock­ets of rain­for­est, it’s a real jour­ney to get to Randy and Brenda’s home in the Sun­shine Coast hin­ter­land. An­tic­i­pa­tion builds at every turn, be­fore their strik­ing ar­chi­tec­tural home, nes­tled on the side of an es­carp­ment on the site of a for­mer pineap­ple and cit­rus farm, is fi­nally re­vealed. “When we pulled up at the front with the real es­tate agent, Brenda just got this look in her eyes and I thought, ‘Uh oh, I’m done for now!’” re­calls Randy. “It was a much larger block than we’d been look­ing for and it didn’t have ocean views, it faced west. But just like Brenda, I could see it was re­ally spe­cial.” So spe­cial, in fact, that the cou­ple, who were liv­ing in Mel­bourne at the time, had to fly back to Queens­land to have an in­ter­view with the owner of the block, who wanted to meet prospec­tive buy­ers. “I think he wanted to make sure we’d be good cus­to­di­ans, and for­tu­nately he agreed to the sale,” says Randy. The area’s rolling green hills re­minded Randy of his home­land of Colorado in the US, while for Brenda, who grew up on a sheep and wheat farm on Queens­land’s Dar­ling Downs, the prospect of mov­ing north to build their dream home felt like a re­turn to her ru­ral roots. The cou­ple were keen to build a home that would sit com­fort­ably within the nat­u­ral land­scape, and en­listed lo­cal ar­chi­tect Dan Sparks of Sparks Ar­chi­tec­ture to tackle their chal­leng­ing brief. “Randy and I are very dif­fer­ent, so the house had to draw to­gether a lot of ideas,” ex­plains Brenda. “Randy was keen for some­thing very open, and I wanted some­thing that re­sem­bled a shearing shed with lots of tac­tile el­e­ments. Amaz­ingly, Dan just ‘got’ us, and the first mud map he drew up on site is pretty much what we went with.” The fin­ished re­sult, de­signed as two pavil­ions, is far more luxe than a sheep shed. A nat­u­ral thread runs through the split-level home, with tex­tu­ral rammed-earth walls, wide spot­ted-gum floors and chunky tim­ber beams, stud­ded with in­dus­trial-style bolts. One pavil­ion hosts the guest quar­ters, over­look­ing a pool and a sea of trees, while Randy and Brenda spend most of their time in the lower pavil­ion, where a run of glass slid­ing doors gives the open liv­ing, kitchen and din­ing area unim­peded views across moun­tain ranges. For the in­te­ri­ors, the cou­ple found work­ing with Mar­tine Blair of Zooi De­sign in­valu­able. “We had a Fed­er­a­tion house in Mel­bourne, so we ba­si­cally started again with new fur­ni­ture and pieces through­out,” ex­plains Brenda. “Mar­tine was a won­der­ful me­di­a­tor who brought to­gether Randy’s and my dif­fer­ent ideas.” Now, al­most two years since the house was com­pleted, the cou­ple have em­braced a com­plete change of lifestyle. “We’ve both re­tired since mov­ing here, and Randy has swapped his com­pany car for a trac­tor,” says Brenda. “We’re re­gen­er­at­ing veg­e­ta­tion where we can, and although the prop­erty is more work than we imag­ined, it’s re­ally sat­is­fy­ing. Liv­ing here re­ally con­nects with some­thing within me.”

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